When you bought a Model J Duesenberg, what you were buying from the company was a chassis, engine, firewall, and front grille. The rest of the car, more or less, would come from a coachbuilder of your choosing.
But someone had designed that front grille – so what if that guy designed the entire package? Well that someone was Gordon Buehrig, and he designed the Victoria Coupe for Judkins, who applied the bodywork to two separate short-wheelbase Model J chassis. This is one of them.
It’s powered by a 6.9-liter straight-eight putting out 265 horsepower. This car has known ownership history back to new and was restored in the early 1990s, with a more recent freshening. It’s been in the Hyman Ltd collection for four years and is now for sale for just a smidge under $2 million. Click here for more info.
Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 16, 2019
While skimming Worldwide’s Scottsdale catalog, I realized we’ve never featured an Auburn, which is a shame as they were great cars. Worldwide have a few on offer, so I picked the most beautiful one I could find, which happens to be a real 12-cylinder Auburn wearing a real Boattail Speedster body, that just so happened to have been transferred to this car from an 8-cylinder Auburn.
So the body isn’t original to this chassis, big deal. The 12-cylinder Auburn went on sale in 1932 and would last only through 1934. It’s a 6.4-liter Lycoming V-12 that makes 160 horsepower. It was the prime example of “cheap” performance of its day, coming in at almost a third of the price of Caddy’s V-12.
These disappearing-top boattail speedsters are the best of the bunch, body-style-wise. New, this car would’ve cost $1,275. Today, even with a non-original period-correct body, it should cost $250,000-$350,000. But it is selling at no reserve, so who knows? Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
1932 Duesenberg Model J Torpedo Berline by Rollston
Offered by Mecum | Las Vegas, Nevada | November 15-17, 2018
Photo – Mecum
Rollston was a coachbuilder based in New York City between 1921 and 1938. It was founded by Harry Lonschein, Sam Blotkin, and Julius Veghso. So what’s with the name? Well Lonschein was a former Brewster employee, a company strongly associated with Rolls-Royce of America. So he named his new company after Rolls-Royce. Fun fact.
This Model J is powered by a 6.9-liter straight-eight engine that makes 265 horsepower. A 3-speed manual transmission sends power rearward, and this car wears a one-off convertible sedan body by Rollston. It was restored in the 1990s.
This car has known ownership history from new, as it was purchased new by a member of the Vanderbilt family. Other owners included Dean Kruse from 1998 to 2007, John O’Quinn from 2007 until 2010, and the Academy of Art University Collection since 2010. It’s an immaculately-clean example and should bring about a million bucks. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | New York, New York | December 6, 2017
Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
Marmon of Indianapolis introduced their Sixteen model in 1931. It was their top-of-the-line model that year, sitting alongside three different eight-cylinder models. In 1932 the Sixteen was offered alongside a single eight-cylinder model. 1933 was Marmon’s last and the brilliant Sixteen was the only model you could get.
There haven’t been many sixteen cylinder cars in history. Cadillac’s V-16 was the chief rival for this car, as were cars like the Duesenberg Model J. The engine here is an 8.0-liter V-16 that makes 200 horsepower. That kind of power aimed it squarely at the Model J. In 1931, a Marmon Sixteen Convertible Coupe would set you back $5,300. A Model J would’ve cost $9,500 as a bare chassis. The body was extra.
This particular car was purchased by Bill Harrah and restored in the 1960s. It’s next owner didn’t acquire the car until 1987 and the current owners bought it from him. It still sports Harrah’s restoration, a testament to the quality of work he pursued for his cars. Fewer than 400 Marmon Sixteens were built and eight with with this body style are known to exist. They do not change hands often. It should bring between $1,000,000 and $1,200,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of the lots in this sale.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Hershey, Pennsylvania | October 5-6, 2017
Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
If you were fortunate enough to enter the harshest years of the Great Depression still a wealthy individual – as was the case of this car’s original owner who was an heiress – you probably wanted a grand automobile. And there were few as grand as the Duesenberg Model J.
This car was purchased – as a bare chassis – for Countess Anna Ingraham. The body was hand built by J. Gerald Kirchoff who was then enlisted as Ms. Ingraham’s personal chauffeur. Not many other coachbuilders offered that kind of service!
J-497 is supposedly one of the most expensive examples produced, costing $25,000 in 1932. And here’s part of the reason why: the inside of this car is opulently trimmed featuring such extravagances as hand-embroidered upholstery and 24-karat gold-plated hardware. Of course, there was another great extravagance: that 6.9-liter straight-eight that pumps out 265 horsepower. Ms. Ingraham used the car on a grand European tour until WWII broke out and she brought the car home.
When she passed in 1944, the car then sat until it was sold to a museum in 1962. It’s had six owners from new and the current owner acquired it in 1999. The restoration dates to the 1980s and it has been well maintained since. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Greenwich, Connecticut | June 4, 2017
Photo – Bonhams
In 1922, Bugatti introduced the eight-cylinder Type 30. It would evolve through a number of other models, all eight-cylinder cars, that culminated in the 1930-1934 Type 49. This model is considered to be one of the finest of Ettore’s creations, with a decade of development used to really perfect it.
The Type 49 is powered by a 3.3-liter straight-eight making 85 horsepower. The body is by Labourdette, one of the oldest French coachbuilders of its day. It’s sleek and simple, with a rear-mounted spare that is inset into the body, making the car appear quite aerodynamic when viewed from behind.
The first few owners of this car were all French, but in the 1970s it was exported to the U.K. It arrived in the U.S. in 1983 by way of Japan and the current owner acquired it in 1995. Restored over a number of years, it is fresh, pretty, and ready for showing and going. Bugatti built 470 examples of the Type 49 and just 76 are thought to exist. This one has not been bestowed with a pre-sale estimate, so bring a blank check. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Brightwells | Bicester, U.K. | April 5, 2017
Photo – Brightwells
Michael McEvoy was an engineer who founded McEvoy Motorcycles in Derby in 1925. The company produced very fast motorcycles through 1929, when the money behind the company was killed racing on the Isle of Man. McEvoy moved on but eventually came back around to motorized transport and produced this, the McEvoy Special.
Based on the Wolseley Star/Morris Minor of the late 1920s/early 1930s, the McEvoy Special shared those cars’ mechanicals but sported a body from Jensen. This seemingly tiny car will seat four and cost £149 when new.
This particular Special is based on a 1932 Morris Minor and is powered by that car’s 847cc straight-four that made 20 horsepower in Morris form. McEvoys could be had as a standard “Model 60” or, when fitted with an upgraded carburetor, a “Model 70.”
This car has known history back to 1962. The owner put it in a museum in 1973 where it underwent a 16 year restoration. It exited the museum in 1989 and has been used extensively since. Coming out of 55 year ownership, this car – one of about 60 built – should bring between $18,000-$22,000. Oh, and after WWII, McEvoy found himself in Germany where he played an active part in saving Volkswagen’s factory from destruction and ensuring the marque’s future. No big deal. Click here for more info.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 19-20, 2017
Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
1929 was a great year of E.L. Cord – well, at least the start of it. His Cord Corporation owned the Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg marques. And he took them all upmarket, selling some of the nicest automobiles America had yet known. But then the economy tanked and his little empire fizzled out.
The first Cord-branded automobile was the front-wheel drive L-29, the first mass-produced front-wheel drive passenger automobile sold in the U.S. They were powered by a 125 horsepower 5.3-liter straight-eight from an Auburn. It was definitely underpowered, seeing as it’s sister marque, Duesenberg, was using a 265 horsepower engine for their car. What it lacked for in speed (top end was about 80 mph), it made up for in gorgeous looks. The Cabriolet (in this color at that) is the best-lookingfactory L-29 variant. The only thing that could make it better would be the addition of those skinny Woodlite headlights.
Only about 20 L-29 Cabriolets were built out of a total L-29 production run of around 4,400 cars and this is thought to be the last Cabriolet built, as the L-29 was only in production between 1929 and 1932. This example was restored years ago, but it still looks nice and has been with its current owner in Arizona for the last 15 years. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Bonhams | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | October 3, 2016
Photo – Bonhams
In 1930, Willys started selling cars under the “Willys” brand again for the first time in ten years (the Willys-Knight continued through 1933). In the 1920s, the company had introduced a sub-brand called Whippet that went out of production in 1931. So for 1932, what was the Whippet became the Willys Silver Streak. Two different models were offered, with this, the 6-90, being the base.
Powered by a 3.2-liter straight-six making 65 horsepower, the Rumble Seat Roadster cost $545 when new. The styling is very nice and will probably be mistaken for a Model A Ford at your local cruise in.
The restoration is over 20 years old and it has spent time in a museum. This would be a fun alternative to the seemingly standard Ford and Chevys of the era – it’s much rarer for sure. The final price will likely be between $20,000-$30,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of Bonhams lineup.
Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 18-20, 2016
Photo – Mecum
Russ Snowberger is a name that has been associated with the Indianapolis 500 since the 1920s. Snowberger was a very talented mechanic and engineer – but he was also a skilled driver. He competed in the Indy 500 15 times from 1928 through 1947. His best finish was 5th (twice) – one of those was in this very car.
Snowberger was interesting in that he built his own cars. Not very many drivers have entered a car at Indy with a chassis bearing their own name. Not even Louis or Gaston Chevrolet. All of the Snowberger chassis that competed in Indy were Studebaker powered. Except one. This one.
Hupmobile made a sponsorship deal with Snowberger to use a Hupp engine at Indy. This was the only Hupmobile-powered car to ever run the 500 as the company ran out of marketing dollars and Snowberger had to return the engine (which later made its way in a Bonneville land speed car). John Snowberger, Russ’ son, later acquired the engine and restored the “Hupp Comet” to as you see it today.
This is a rare chance to acquire a famous Indy 500 race car from one of the race’s early legends and owner/drivers. You can read more about it on Mecum’s site here and see more from this sale here.
Update: Not sold, high bid of $310,000.
Update: Not sold, Mecum Kissimmee 2017, high bid of $270,000.